Drums: The Bidding is Live!

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Brenda Crabtree : Redskin

Do you want to own a beautiful piece of art? Do you want to support up and coming artists? Then this drum auction is definitely for you.

The YVR Art Foundation was established in 1993 by the Vancouver Airport Authority to foster the development of BC First Nations art and artists. Now each year, new artists are awarded scholarships to support the creation of a piece that is displayed at the YVR airport and celebrated at a gala event. Awarding scholarships, however, requires the YVR Art Foundation to fundraise. That’s what this drum auction is all about. The money raised from the sale of the drums will support the YVR Art Foundation to continue to offer this grant to young artist looking to catch a break early on in their career and find enough recognition to begin creating and selling art. The money is charitable and you can get a text receipt for it if you are the winning bidder.

There are 17 drums altogether with designs by some pretty big names, including Dempsey Bob and Reg Davidson. Each piece is unique from the others with everything from very traditional form-line design use to a daring political statement. The drums can all be seen online here, and you can put in your bid online or call into the number: 778-668-3665 and place your bid that way.

Another really great reason to bid on the drums online is that it gets you an invitation to the elite, invite-only final bidding event on November 4th where you can bid to your heart’s content. If all else fails, try asking your favourite board member if you can volunteer, or ask your boss, who got an invitation, to take you as their plus one … I actually managed both so if you REALLY can’t find a way in I might be able to give you one of my spots!

Seeing the Drums for the First Time

Working for the YVR Art Program means that I got the inside scoop early on. I work for the company that curates the art for the airport, so once the finished drums started to arrive, the YVR Art Foundation contacted us about displaying some of them in the airport. There were eight drums chosen for display in the airport and I drafted the agreement for the YVR Art Foundation to loan them for display.

The day came to pick them up. I always love going to the upstairs offices in the airport. The YVR Art Program lives in a little tiny concrete box on level one. No, level one isn’t the level you walk onto when you want to take a flight out of YVR airport, that’s level three. If you get in an elevator and go two more levels down, there you will find our office; comfy, friendly, hardworking, but rather dark. The upstairs offices are on level five. Yes, that’s two levels above the one you are usually on. They basically aren’t even in the airport building. They kind of hover overtop of it, with windows on all sides. Did I say I like going up there?

So when the time came to pick up the drums I excitedly headed up to level five to see the sun and witness eight of the drums for the first time. They came out of the closet one at a time, with only bits of paint and leather peeking through as we loaded them onto the trolley. The excitement built as we headed down four floors to the basement. This was the moment. We walked into our office and slowly, carefully started pulling them out of their packaging. Seeing them in person was a completely different experience than from the pictures. You could see the touch of the artist’s hand in the delicate lines of paint. The designs were unique and engaging and the one I thought I wouldn’t like all that much actually became my favourite. Brenda Crabtree’s Redskin is not only a daring socio-political statement but the drum itself is the most gorgeous crimson colour, highlighting rather than hiding the grains and variations in the leather canvas. That would be my first bid. My second bid? It would have to be Arlene NessBullhead. The bold lines, dark red colour and abstract composition remind me of the North to where I grew up so I suppose this is a nostalgic choice. But Ness has always surprised me with the skill and beauty in her art and she only seems to get better as her career moves forward.

But these are only my picks. There are 17 drums in all and they each have a beauty of their own. The pictures online actually portray the drums very well, but it’s nothing like standing in front of them. If you can, wrangle an invitation to the event and come see them for yourself. And you just might find yourself the owner of a beautiful piece of art. 

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